IBM Scores Big Cloud Deal with SK Telecom

Big Blue beats out top rivals for contract to provide cloud computing infrastructure for South Korea's largest telecom provider.
Posted December 15, 2009

Larry Barrett

IBM on Tuesday said it will build and operate the first private sector cloud-computing environment in Korea by virtue of its exclusive contract with SK Telecom, South Korea's largest telecommunications provider.

Big Blue, which topped rivals including Microsoft, HP, Sun Microsystems and Oracle for the deal, will provide software and hardware infrastructure that will allow SK Telecom to offer up to 20 new services—including sports news feeds and a photo service -- to its 24 million customers by year's end.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) has been particularly aggressive with its cloud-computing strategy in 2009, offering a variety of on-demand business intelligence, analytics and data storage applications to its core enterprise customers and new small and midsized clients.

In October, IBM launched Smart Business Storage Cloud, a private cloud-based storage and archiving application.

Since June, Big Blue has made several key cloud-based product and strategy announcements designed to differentiate itself from the likes of Amazon, Google, EMC and a flock of other smaller and mostly privately held cloud-computing specialists.

SK Telecom and its partners will now be able to quickly develop, test and publish new end-user services, IBM officials said. The contract includes cloud-based servers, storage and middleware applications designed to help reduce the upfront costs associated with launching new services and speed the development of mobile content from third-party developers.

A Platform-as-a-Service model

“With this new environment SK Telecom will lead in innovation by offering IT infrastructure for software developers through a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model," said Kang-yoon Lee, director of IBM Korea's cloud computing center, in a statement. "We believe this project will be a model example in how enterprises in Korea and worldwide can leverage the cloud environment to support business requirements in continual change.”

SK Telecom controls more than 50 percent of the South Korean telecommunications market.

As part of its commitment to increasing its cloud-computing presence in Asia, IBM recently announced it would build two new data centers in South Korea and New Zealand.

IBM officials said SK Telecom's cloud will include 80 systems comprised of both System x and blade servers, Xen virtualization technology and IBM middleware and service management applications.

Tags: cloud computing, cloud services, IBM, telecom, Cloud Storage

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